Do you know what makes popcorn pop?

By First Posted: Mar 1, 2011 Tue 6:32 AM Updated: Apr 23, 2014 Wed 7:36 PM
Do you know what makes popcorn pop?
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- A kernel of popcorn consists of a hard shell which surrounds a dense, starchy center which has a lot of moisture. 

- When you place the bag of unpopped popcorn in the microwave oven, the microwave “cooks” the popcorn by heating the moisture in the starch. 

- The gelatinous starch softens and the moisture is heated to the boiling point, it converts into steam and begins to expand. 

- The hard outer shell of popcorn does not allow the steam to escape. Instead, the kernel of corn becomes like a tiny pressure cooker.

- The steam pressure builds up until the outer shell can no longer contain it, and it ruptures.

- If you’ve ever tried opening a bottle of champagne or shaken a bottle of soda, it’s easy to understand what happens next.

- When the shell cracks, the pressure drops and the moisture in the starch instantly converts from a liquid state to a gaseous state, creating air bubbles in the cooked, gelatinous starch that causes it to froth up in a foamy mass.

- It expands 30 or 40 times than its original size. 

- The steam escapes, leaving behind the dried, crunchy, styrofoamy starch that we enjoy to eat, "Popcorn".


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